The decision to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby is completely unique to you, and should be based on however you feel most comfortable.
It's generally recognised that breast milk is better for a newborn baby due to the nutritious value and strength building benefits that support your baby's immune system in a way that formula milk can't, and The Department of Health advise mums to breastfeed for at least the first six months of your baby's life.
However, many mums aren't physically able to breastfeed, whilst for others breastfeeding isn't an option for reasons beyond their control.
If you are deciding whether to breastfeed or bottle feed, there are lots of factors to weigh up. But, when deciding what's best for you and your baby, consider the pros and cons and be sure to talk through your plans and get advice from your health visitor as well.
Pros of breastfeedingYour breast milk contains the perfect amount of nutrition and hydration to build your baby's immune system which contributes towards fending off illness and making them as strong as possibleBreast milk is free! Considering how expensive baby's are, this is a huge win in the finance department as they drink A LOT of milkBreast milk is readily available whenever your baby needs it, which means no carrying bottles or sterilising equipment around with youIt's a chance to bond with your baby and get to know them, spending special quality time with them
Cons of breastfeedingIt can make some mothers uncomfortable and they dislike doing it, especially in publicYour breasts can become engorged, swollen and generally painful - which is never fun!Your nipples are set to get a lot more attention than normal and can begin to crack or bleed which can be quite painful
Pros of bottle feedingIf your breasts are in pain or you have developed mastitis, bottle feeding will be a welcome relief. It's more important to be a happy, healthy mum than to force yourself to do something you find painfulYou can share feeding duties - yay! No longer is the pressure all on you, your partner or family are just as capable of feeding your baby, which means you can get some rest!You can measure exactly how much milk your baby is drinking every day. If they're draining each bottle and still crying for more it could mean they're going through a growth spurt or if they don't drink their usual amount they may be feeling poorlyYou can now buy ready-made formula milk, microwave sterilisers and a huge number of anti-colic teats and bottles all designed to make bottle feeding a quicker, easier and happier experience for both of you
Cons of bottle feedingUnfortunately the truth is formula just doesn't have the same nutritional benefits as breast milk for your baby, your breast milk is designed especially to give your little one the best start in lifeFormula is expensive and with so much to buy for your baby already it feels like a shame to not use the free resources that you haveA lot of preparation goes into making up a bottle for your baby. It can cause an added strain on your already newly hectic lifestyle because of the hassle it takes to organise the equipment, sterilise, prepare and carry around the bottles
Did you breastfeed or bottle feed? What sort of experience did you have? Let us know in the comments below!